20 Recent Lawsuits and Settlements Involving Hospitals

The following provider lawsuits, settlements or legal developments were reported within the past six weeks, beginning with the most recent.

1. FTC Sues St. Luke's Health in Idaho Over Physician Group Acquisition
In mid-March, the Federal Trade Commission and Idaho's attorney general filed an antitrust complaint against St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho, challenging its acquisition of a large physician group. That complaint was recently unsealed.

2. Judge Dismisses False Claims Suit Against Physicians Regional in Florida
A federal judge dismissed a false claims lawsuit against Naples, Fla.-based Physicians Regional Healthcare System, ruling that the complaint lacked allegations that rose above a "speculative level."

3. UC-Irvine to Pay $1.2M to Settle Claims of Improper Supervision for Anesthesia
The Regents of the University of California, the university's governing body, agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve allegations that anesthesia was routinely administered at University of California-Irvine by healthcare providers when a supervisory anesthesiologist was not present.

4. DOJ, Michigan Seek to Dismiss Antitrust Suit Against Blue Cross Blue Shield
The Department of Justice, state of Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan filed a joint motion with the U.S. District Court in Detroit to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit filed against the payor regarding its use of "most favored nation" clauses in certain contracts with hospitals.

5. Psychiatrist Files $8M Suit Against Tanner Medical Center in Georgia
Psychiatrist Randy Warner, MD, filed an amended lawsuit against Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, Ga., alleging the hospital engaged in illegal activities to keep Dr. Warner "as a captive physician" to maximize profits.

6. Lawsuit: Hudson Hospital Holdco Built Community Opposition to Prime Healthcare in N.J.
Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare filed suit against Philadelphia-based Hudson Hospital Holdco, alleging the for-profit hospital operator used systematic efforts and "political muscle" to block Prime's entry into the New Jersey hospital market.

7. Excela Health Hasn't Discussed Settlements for 115 Overstenting Lawsuits, Lawyers Say
Lawyers for patients said there have been no talks to settle 115 lawsuits filed against Greensburg, Pa.-based Excela Health over allegedly unnecessary heart procedures that occurred at one of the system's hospitals.

8. FTC Begins Process to Split Merged Georgia Hospitals
With the U.S. Supreme Court's blessing, the Federal Trade Commission began the process of splitting the merger of two Albany, Ga.-based hospitals — Phoebe Putney Health System and Palmyra Medical Center.

9. Pacific Health Corp. in California Fined $7M for Stiffing Employee Paychecks
The California Department of Industrial Relations fined Pacific Health Corp., a hospital chain based in Los Angeles, was fined more than $7 million for failing to pay employee wages and forcing employees to wait for payments.

10. Nurse Files Suit Against South Jersey Healthcare Over Overtime Pay
An employee of Underwood-Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, N.J., filed suit against employer and parent company Vineland, N.J.-based South Jersey Healthcare, alleging she was denied proper overtime pay.

11. Driscoll Children's Hospital in Texas Settles Double-Billing Charges
Two physician groups affiliated with Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle federal allegations of double-billing federal health programs.

12. Florida Hospital Repays $3M to Medicare While Overbilling Allegations Loom
Florida Hospital in Orlando repaid $3 million to Medicare, a move seen by prosecutors as corroborating overbilling allegations and by hospital officials as the result of a routine audit.

13. Genesis HealthCare Reaches HHS Settlement Over Alleged Lack of Interpreter
Senior care provider Genesis HealthCare, based in Kennett Square, Pa., reached a settlement with the HHS Office for Civil Rights, resolving a complaint that the company failed to provide a qualified interpreter to one of its residents in Maryland.

14. Cancer Treatment Centers Files Extortion Suit Against Former Executive
Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a national cancer hospital chain based in Schaumburg, Ill., filed suit against former a executive, Lynette Bisconti, alleging she tried to extort nearly $50 million from the system's CEO Richard Stephenson.

15. Medical Center of Georgia Sues Blue Cross Blue Shield for Alleged Underpayments
The Medical Center of Georgia in Macon filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, claiming the payor underpaid it by more than $22 million dating back to 2009.

16. Texas Supreme Court Dismisses Whistleblower Suit Against UT Southwestern
The Texas Supreme Court dismissed a physician's whistleblower suit against UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, reasoning that the plaintiff did not notify the proper authority about his suspicions of fraud.

17. Michigan Hospital Settles Nurse's Racial Discrimination Complaint
Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich., settled a lawsuit filed by a nurse who claimed the hospital obliged a man's request and specified that no African-American nurses were to take care of a newborn child.

18. Erlanger Health Sues Management Company for Alleged Breach of Contract
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Erlanger Health System filed suit against the management company hired to oversee two of its community health centers, alleging the company breached its contract and opened a competing clinic.

19. Supreme Court Sides with FTC in Phoebe Putney Case
Supreme Court justices sided with the Federal Trade Commission with a unanimous ruling that lower courts improperly dismissed antitrust complaints over Albany, Ga.-based Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's acquisition of Palmyra Medical Center in Albany.

20. Nearly 400 People Sue St. Joseph London in Kentucky for Alleged Overstenting
As of Feb. 19, approximately 400 people had filed suit against St. Joseph London (Ky.) hospital and 11 cardiologists, claiming they conspired to perform unnecessary heart procedures on patients.

More Articles on Legal Issues in Healthcare:

22 Advisory Opinions Issued by the OIG; 6 Relevant to Hospitals, Surgery Centers and Other Providers
Emerging Trends in Stark, False Claims and Anti-Kickback Cases for Health Systems
How to Avoid a Regulatory Nightmare: Establishing an Effective Data and Records Management Program

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